Allahabad HC says POCSO not for teenage romances
Allahabad HC says POCSO not for teenage romances

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act was not designed for teenagers' romantic affairs, according to the Allahabad High Court.

A POCSO accused youth was given bail after he went away with a 14-year-old girl and married her at a temple. The young man, who was still a minor at the time, stayed with the girl for about two years, during which time she gave birth to a child. The girl is a Dalit while the male is a Brahmin.

"Growing incidences where teenagers and young adults fall victim of the offences under the POCSO Act, and are slapped by the penal provisions of the Act without understanding the far-reaching implication of the severity of the enactment, is an issue that brings much concern to the conscience of this court," Justice Rahul Chaturvedi said in granting bail to one Atul Mishra. " The purpose of the POCSO Act, as stated in the declaration of objects and reasons, is to protect children from sexual abuse, sexual assault and harassment, and pornography, in accordance with Article 15 of the Indian Constitution of 1950 and the conservation of children's rights.

However, it appears that a considerable number of cases filed under the Act are those stemming from complaints/FIRs submitted by the families of adolescents and teenagers who are in romantic relationships with one other. The Act's scheme clearly reveals that it did not aim to include cases of the sort where adolescents or teenagers are involved in a complex romantic relationship within its scope or boundaries "he stated

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